The MOTO Museum in St. Louis, Missouri, displays the motorcycle collection of Steve Smith, an avid motorcyclist and dealership owner. The museum includes about 75 pre-world war vintage motorcycles from over 20 countries and almost 100 years of motorcycle history. And ideally, the museum is connected to Smith’s dealership, Moto Europa.
“It’s a really cool atmosphere because it really links motorcycle history together,” says Chad Faerber, general manager of the dealership. “You can walk through the museum, which is free, and see the history of motorcycles going into the modern bikes of Ducati, Triumph, KTM, Vespa, and Piaggio.”
The museum operates during the same hours as the dealership, Monday through Saturday, and most regular customers have strolled through the museum at least once. “Every once in a while, we’ll get something new in there or something that rotates out, so it seems like regulars walk through it a couple of times a year,” Faerber explains.
The MOTO Museum provides a stunning experience, with artistic architecture enhancing each model on display. Faerber explains that specific areas dedicated to Triumph, Ducati, KTM, and Piaggio are designed to complement each brand’s vintage bikes. The facility includes a combination of stained concrete flooring, hardwood flooring, vintage brick, and other details that create a classy environment throughout the museum.
Sections of the museum are also rented for weddings, banquets, and corporate events. “We’ve had companies come in to have Christmas parties and we have a catering company, so we’ll cater [those events],” Faerber says. “And we do pretty good with all of the corporate events and weddings too.”
Before opening the dealership, Smith opened the museum, then a motorcycle themed restaurant. Although the restaurant closed during COVID, he is considering reopening and rebranding the restaurant in the future. There is also a hotel attached to the complex, and Smith is considering opening it in the future as well.
Moto Museum hosts the DGR
The dealership has a history of involvement with the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR). The MOTO Museum has provided a perfect final destination for DGR riders, providing plenty of space and food. “For the last few years, it has ended here in our banquet hall and riders, men and women, come in dressed up in Gentleman’s gear,” Faerber says. “We do some giveaways and set up tables and dinner for them.”
Last May, the dealership put on an after-ride party and about 80 motorcycles rolled up to the event. “At our banquet hall, we have a fully catered meal, a raffle, giveaways, and music playing. It seems like it’s getting bigger every year. It got killed a little bit with COVID, but it seems like it’s coming back.”
Returning to the industry
Faerber grew up riding two- and four-wheelers. He had multiple dirt bikes, and his parents had plenty of land for him to ride on. “As I got older, I switched to street riding and did a couple of track days when I lived in Charlotte,” he says.
Faerber started his career in powersports young, first attending MMI in Daytona Beach. After graduating, he returned to St. Louis to work as a technician for a couple of dealerships in the area. He also gained experience in the parts and service departments. Faerber then worked at a dealership in Charlotte, North Carolina as a parts manager, then as a Helmet House rep. for the Midwest.
He transitioned to the automotive industry for about 10 years before returning to the powersports industry, which he says he was always drawn to from the beginning. He started at Moto Europa in the parts department before he was promoted to general manager.
“It’s a great industry,” he shares. “The people are great. Our customers are always fun to hang out with and do events with.”
The dealership participates in multiple events throughout the year, and Faerber was excited about an upcoming motorcycle and car cruise and show. The dealership will participate in the cruise and show this October, providing Ducati motorcycles for the event.
Technicians, training, and benefits
“It’s always hard to find motorcycle techs. We hired a new tech about six months ago, but we could easily use one more,” Faerber says. And he explains that after a tech is hired, the wait to fill a position in the service department continues, as new hires must travel to train to become certified Ducati and Triumph technicians.
But once the dealership hires, new employees have plenty of reasons to stay. “Our owner owns a larger company, so we have a great 401K, and we have great insurance. We also have dental insurance and other things that I don’t think you get with smaller dealerships. It’s a great place; you can have a full career here. You don’t worry about growing out of the space, or especially if you have a family, having insurance,” he explains.
Depending on the season, Moto Europa employs seven to eight employees. MOTO Museum has a staff of around two, and the catering kitchen is staffed with a full crew.
To keep employees connected, the Moto Europa team gathers for a Christmas party every year. The team will either enjoy an activity or event together, or they will go riding. “Last year we did a small ride to a place where we had a BBQ afterward,” Faerber says. And a Top Golf will be opening down the road from the dealership, so the team also plans to play a couple of rounds together when it opens.
Finishing the busy season strong
Faerber explains that as Q3 comes to an end, the busy season does too. So, the current focus at the dealership is to keep sales up and the service department busy. “They are scheduled out about 3 weeks in service,” he says. “We’re just trying to keep everybody busy and get every sale possible before we start to slow down for the season, which is usually around October.”